An ambitious $2.1 million project aimed at improving labour relations and working conditions in Bangladesh's garment industry by 2005 has been announced.

The three-year blueprint has been drawn up by the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and International Labour Organisation, with the bulk of the funding being provided by the US Department of Labour.

The remaining $600,000 will be provided by the BGMEA with the project's key target being increasing labour productivity through better applications of labour laws and international best practices in the apparel sector.

Project chiefs hope to achieve this through the setting up of a standard code of conduct in all BGMEA factories following consultations with union chiefs, factory owners and managers as well as workers.